Reporting Liz Collin
HUDSON, Wis. (WCCO) – Workers say what wasn’t installed inside a western Wisconsin hospital put them in danger while doing their jobs.
Four CT technologists have filed a lawsuit claiming they were exposed to excess radiation for years at Hudson Hospital. The lawsuit says construction crews installed the wrong glass inside the room where they read the scans.
As Hudson Hospital undergoes a $10 million expansion, it’s a small sheet of glass that has shattered the trust of four CT technologists.
Chuck Bye, a personal injury attorney from River Falls, Wis., is representing the four techs. He said they performed hundreds of scans every year while being exposed to 20 times the amount of usual radiation.
“Potentially it is an extremely, extremely serious situation,” Bye said. “The law in Wisconsin requires the viewing window to have the same radiation protection as the walls and this was not the case.”
A window separates the scanner room from the control room where the technologist sits in a CT area. It’s supposed to be made of lead-shielded glass, but when the hospital went to replace its CT scanner last year, it discovered it was made from only regular glass.
The hospital reported the flaw to the Wisconsin Department of Health, which recorded it as a “construction error.”
Bye wouldn’t say how his clients are doing health-wise, beyond saying that they are all showing some signs of radiation exposure.
All four are still working at Hudson Hospital.
The lawsuit places the blame on the architectural firm and construction companies that built the hospital 10 years ago.
In a statement, Ken Sorensen, vice president and general manager at Mortenson Construction said the following:
“We are aware that a lawsuit has been filed against Hammes, HGA, and Mortenson regarding a now-resolved issue at the Hudson Hospital. We take the issue reflected in this lawsuit and the issue of safety very seriously at Mortenson, and we are committed at the highest level of our company to fully investigating this matter to the satisfaction of all involved. We intend to work closely with Hammes, HGA and the Hudson Hospital in doing so. Since this is now an active legal proceeding, we cannot provide any further comments.”
A spokesperson for Hammes Company told WCCO by phone they “are going over documentation right now,” and didn’t want to say anything more.
Minneapolis architectural and design firm Hammel, Green and Abrahamson (HGA) is also named in the lawsuit. WCCO did not receive a call back by our deadline for the story.
New, safer glass has been installed at the hospital, but four workers still fear the unknown.
“A lot of questions that are unanswered and time will…time will tell,” Bye said.
Hudson Hospital says anyone who went in for a CT scan in the last 10 years wouldn’t have received anything more than normal radiation exposure.
The hospital is not named in the lawsuit as doing anything wrong.